Democratic Alliance MP Glynnis Breytenbach.
Nardus Engelbrecht, Gallo Images, file
- Former president Jacob Zuma should be arrested and prosecuted if he fails to appear before the Zondo commission, said DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach.
- Zuma has made it clear he was willing to face jail time rather than appear before the commission.
- DA leader John Steenhuisen said President Cyril Ramaphosa should appear before the Zondo commission to account not only for his role, but for his party.
DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach says former president Jacob Zuma has “never considered himself to be subject to the rule of law”.
Breytenbach was speaking during the party’s weekly webcast The Inside Track, focusing on the bombshell testimonies at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.
She said the former president had “always been deeply uncomfortable living in a democratic state”.
“He has never considered himself to be subject to the rules of law, so he has always lived outside of those rules and he has demonstrated that even before he became the president, the fact that he became president already should raise the question.
“He used state resources to employ the Stalingrad approach, to not be held accountable for anything, criminally or otherwise. It’s always somebody else’s fault, he is always the victim of some sort of conspiracy, he is never accountable, he’s never done anything wrong and again now, he is doing that. He’s done that with the arms deal matter.”
Following a ruling by the Constitutional Court in favour of the commission, the former president has made it clear he was willing to face jail time rather than appear before the commission to answer questions about his tenure.
On Monday, Zuma released a statement and contended that his defiance was motivated by the Constitutional Court ruling that he did not have a blanket “right to silence” in response to the hundreds of questions the inquiry wishes to put to him.
It found while Zuma had a right to protect himself against self-incrimination, he needed to explain why his response could incriminate him in a specific crime to exercise it.
Zuma had argued the apex court “effectively decided that, I as an individual citizen, could no longer expect to have my basic constitutional rights protected and upheld by the country’s Constitution”.
“I felt moved to publicly express solidarity with the sentiments and concerns raised with me about a clearly politicised segment of the judiciary that now heralds an imminent constitutional crisis in this country.”
He is scheduled to appear before the commission on 15 February.
Breytenbach said if Zuma failed to appear before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, he should be arrested and prosecuted.
In a statement on Tuesday night, the commission said Zuma’s defiance showed he considered himself to be “above the law and the Constitution”.
The secretary of the commission had been instructed to open a criminal case against Zuma for ignoring a summons and not appearing last month.
Meanwhile, DA leader John Steenhuisen said President Cyril Ramaphosa should also appear before the commission and account, not only for himself, but for his party.
Steenhuisen said it was not “good enough” for the president to say he was “shocked” by certain revelations.
“President Ramaphosa was for many years the chairperson of the ANC cadre deployment committee and had been responsible for a lot of the people that have gone on to serve at the SOE boards.”
He added Ramaphosa worked with Zuma for many years, as his deputy, adding, as the leader of the ANC, he had a duty to account.